Ruby is the name given to the corundum mineral species when it appears in shades of red. Blue and pink shades of corundum are classified as sapphire. Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red, which ranges from an orangey red to a purplish red. The strength of ruby’s red depends on how much chromium is present—the more chromium, the stronger the red color.
RUBY: MEANING & ANCIENT LORE
- The ruby is mentioned four times in the Bible (associated with attributes such as beauty and wisdom, e.g., Proverbs 31:10 “Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than rubies.”)
- In Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj or “King of Precious Stones”
- People in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies
- In Burma, warriors wore rubies to make them invincible in battle (they didn’t just adorn their armor, they actually inserted them into their flesh to make them part of their bodies)
- Rubies became one of the most sought-after gems of European royalty and the upper classes (worn to guarantee health, wealth, wisdom and success in love)
- To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, jeweler Harry Winston created real ruby slippers set with 4,600 rubies
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BUYER’S GUIDE: RUBY
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: COLOR & CLARITY
Color is the most significant factor affecting a ruby’s value. The finest rubies are pure, vibrant red or slightly purplish red. Too orangy or more purplish in color and the quality diminishes. The highest-quality rubies are vividly saturated yet neither too dark nor too light. If the color is too dark, it has a negative effect on the stone’s brightness. If the color is too light, the stone is considered a pink sapphire, even if the color strength or intensity is high. Inclusion-free rubies are practically nonexistent. As such, their value depends on how visible the inclusions are. Obvious inclusions or inclusions that reduce transparency or brightness lower a ruby’s value dramatically. Inclusions can also limit a ruby’s durability.
CARE & CLEANING OF YOUR RUBY JEWELRY
Ruby is rated a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This makes them very durable for everyday wear. Remember to bring your fine jewelry in at least twice a year for stone/setting checking and professional cleaning — not only is it a great excuse for us to see you and say hello, it will also keep your cherished pieces in tip-top shape! Ruby jewelry may be safely cleaned at home with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Click here for our step-by-step guide to cleaning jewelry at home.
Source: GIA (Gemological Institute of America)